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December 26, 2010: A Word Can Lead You…

December 26, 2010: A Word Can Lead You…

This is my annual end-of-the-year invitation…
to choose a word, not a resolution.

I have been doing this in January for many years,
ever since I read Christine Kane’s blog called The Resolution Revolution.
It has changed me over and over.

Here’s the invitation:
Instead of making futile promises to “fix” something (like lose weight, or get out of debt)…
choose a WORD toward which to tilt your life.
Then let go…  and see where it leads.
Be curious about it.  Be sincere about your choice
and allow it to slowly, deeply change you…. for 12 months.

My first year I chose the word Truth.  sigh.
I suppose the wise voice inside wanted me to cut through the bullsh**- to help me peel things away and stare straight at, well, the truth about things.  When I chose the word I had no idea where it would lead me. At the end of that year- through reading, reflecting in my journal and exploratory arts-  I realize I had let go of a lot… a lot of “masks” I had been wearing, a lot of stories I was believing.
The word “truth” had led me fearlessly out of pretending… closer to authenticity.

And it led me to Mindfulness meditation- the practice of “seeing clearly”- a very important part of my life to this day.

Choosing a word sets an intention.  That is all we need to understand.
It is not a verb.  not an action.  not something to add to the to-do list.
Instead, it is something to wonder about. It is best to choose a noun. Something with a life of its own. Something to lead you, not something to conquer.

And like a treasure, it is best to hold it lightly. gently. with reverence. with confidence.
The rest is an adventure.   Just follow where it leads.

Other years, I chose the words; Receptivity,  Love… and Blossom.
Last year it was Patience.

I am drawn to words that are mysteries to me. Ones I can not yet define. Concepts that intrigue me.. and often intimidate me.
I tend to be kinda serious. Philosophical.
You don’t have to be.
Just be sincere.

Many of my friends do this on New Year’s Day now.
Some of the powerful words I remember them choosing are :

ACTION             COMMITMENT            JOY             Courage

           TRUST              Presence         Ease           HOME

I used to host a “Soup and Sisterhood” dinner each January.
Girlfriends would gather and reflect on the year they had spent with their word. Many were shocked at how their life had shifted because of this simple exercise. Some admitted they had forgotten about their word for long stretches only to find it had been subtly working its magic at a foundational level.
Our conversations were fascinating and inspiring. The whole thing felt so creative!
And as we blew out the candles, we would say farewell to the word that had kept us company for 12 months…
and offer up our new word for the year- a bit wide-eyed and curious about what it had in store for us.

I never know what my word will be.
Not until I sit in the quiet, candle lit, heart open… do I hear the whisper of it.
I am often surprised by what surfaces.  Surprised, but never unsure.
When I recognize what my word of the year is… it’s as if it has risen from a solid place in the belly, not the head. It is a “gut” knowing.  Held out… as an invitation.

I encourage you to try it this year.
You won’t regret it.
Christine Kane’s blog explains it further.

Happy New Year!

ps-  I’d love to hear about the word you choose if you feel like sharing.  We learn so much from each other :-)

12 responses to “December 26, 2010: A Word Can Lead You…”

  1. Brenda Dolly - "Earth Angel"

    My word immediately given is HUMILITY……

    Thank you Beth for your compassion and direction…
    Hoping to see you at meditation SOON.

    Blessings Abundant,
    Brenda – “Earth Angel”

  2. Jerry hartman

    My word is dedication. I want to dedicate myself to my study and teaching practices in 2013.

  3. Kelly

    I choose authentic. Thank you for this sharing this practice.

  4. Marcia

    It has taken me a while, but my word for the year is
    I want it to be in front of me, taking me places this year. Last year was a very difficult year after leaving 30 years of teaching…and I still haven’t totally left. I am continuing my journey of recovering, discovering and rediscovering life and what that means for me. Most of my friends have children and some even a few grandchildren and find themselves naturally turning their energy towards new young life.
    I’m turning somewhere different. Commitment will help me find my way, staying the course, and with great people like Beth Reese, who constantly provide a gentle, searching spirit filled with poetry, reflections, and farm life, to help me along the way. Thank you Beth.

  5. Krishnakamini

    Heartsong, is the word that arises. I love this word. For even though I
    have a challenge audibly, this word always make me listen ever deeper, with
    my heart, to what lies within.

  6. casper

    Exploration insisted on being the word.Others whirled around,but were subdued by this word.Fascinating,I have been and done many things,this will be an interesting journey.

    until then…..

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